SINGAPORE: On Tuesday, December 28, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), urged Singaporeans to reduce their use of hongbao notes for the Chinese New Year. This is to help the environment and reduce bank branch queues.
As a token of good fortune, married couples traditionally give their children Hongbao (or red packets) during Chinese New Year.
In a media release, the authority stated that the use of e-hongbaoor notes for reusing will reduce the environmental impact of issuing notes.
It also stated that it issues approximately 100 million new notes each year for Chinese New Year and other festive occasions.
These notes, especially the S$2 bills are most often returned after Chinese New Years. They are then destroyed because it is far more than normal circulation demand.
It said that the carbon emissions from such new notes’ production, transportation, destruction and disposal each year are extremely wasteful, unnecessary and adversely affect the environment.
The authority said that it had been working with the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) and financial technology firms to develop egifting alternatives for physical hongbao.
E-hongbaoare is a quick, safe and simple way to send blessings to loved ones and friends. It also allows family and friends who are unable to visit during the pandemic to continue the tradition of festive gifting.
People who prefer to give physical Hongbao while doing their part for the environment should reuse or give QR gift certificates instead of new notes.
The majority of Singapore’s currency notes are in good condition and suitable for festive gifting.